Category Archives: Blog

What's Red and White and Glad all Over?

Karen Keane, CEO of Skinner, and I had the opportunity to attend a gala opening of this remarkable exhibit on Thursday night. Everyone who walked in said, “This makes you feel so good,” and I agree. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. The exhibit is only open for a few days: from Friday, March 25th through Wednesday, March 30th, and it’s free to the public, so get down to New York and see it if you can.

Three Expert Insights: Quality Details

Quality in antiques and collectibles can stem from fine workmanship or exquisite materials. Skinner experts and appraisers have weighed in on these aspects of quality in the two previous posts. However, there is yet one more major theme when it comes to quality: detail.

As Executive Vice President Stephen Fletcher puts it, “It’s like buying a car.” You could be looking at two identical models, and one has a walnut interior, gps, and a sunroof, while the other has nothing special.… Read More

The Story behind the Exhibit: Paint, Pattern and People at Winterthur

Paint, Pattern and People: Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1725–1850 is much more than just an exhibit on antique furniture. The well-documented objects chosen for the upcoming exhibition at Winterthur give us a window into people’s lives in an area that was home to incredible cultural diversity.

Skinner spoke with Wendy A. Cooper, the Lois F. and Henry S. McNeil Senior Curator of Furniture, and Lisa Minardi, Assistant Curator of Furniture for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Furniture Project, about what it was like to put together this fabulous exhibition, which opens on April 2, 2011 in Winterthur, Delaware.… Read More

Does Signed Jewelry Matter?

Here’s my advice that I gave in the talk: If you’re going to buy signed Cartier or signed Tiffany, you should buy unusual things. I’m talking about fine jewelry pieces that were done on a smaller run and that are not mass-produced. I think the unfortunate trend is that some collectors forget to really look at the piece and just buy a signature. Also, it’s important to make sure that the signature is correct.

The Unusual History of a Six-foot-tall Doulton Lambeth Vase

Have you ever stood next to a vase that’s taller than you are? Standing nearly six foot four inches in height, this Doulton faience baluster vase, with its painted dahlias among bamboo and exotic foliage, is certainly an eye stopper. The Royal Doulton Company is one of the most renowned manufacturers of table, ornamental and collectible wares dating back to 1815, and this antique vase was decorated by Florence Lewis, one of the Lambeth studio’s most highly acclaimed artists.

5 Expert Insights: Quality Materials

No one will argue that quality matters in buying and selling antiques and art objects. The trouble is, the characteristics that make one piece quality and another piece mediocre are often subtle. Skinner experts and appraisers offer their insights, stemming from years of experience, into what kinds of materials mean quality. Let’s take a look at how to recognize quality in jade, wine, Native American art, furniture, and metal sculpture.

The Charles Bulfinch Church: A Treasure in our Backyard

I have always been drawn to the quiet aesthetic of New England. Just down the road from Skinner’s Marlborough, Massachusetts auction gallery sits a national treasure. The Fifth Meeting House of the Unitarian First Church of Christ was designed by Charles Bulfinch in 1816. Although he is most known for his design of the State House in Boston, many view the Lancaster church as his crowning achievement.

Make Do and Mend: An Antiques Appraiser's Busman's Holiday

As an antiques auctioneer & appraiser, when I travel for pleasure, it’s nearly impossible to refrain from taking in the material culture, art and history of new surroundings. A recent brief 2-day visit to Iceland on the way to Great Britain included a stop at the National Museum of Iceland.

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